BALTIMORE -- Attorneys for the six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death say prosecutors steered investigators away from allegations about Gray's behavior in past interactions with law enforcement. The attorneys claim detectives were told Gray had a history of participating in "crash-for-cash" schemes in which people hurt themselves to collect settlements - a piece of information attorneys say would be useful for their case.
Gray died on April 19, a week after suffering a critical spinal injury in the back of a police van. Gray's death spurred days of largely peaceful protests followed by rioting and looting last April 27.
Six officers were charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanor assault to "depraved-heart" murder.
In a motion filed Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court, defense attorneys allege that investigators for the Baltimore Police Department had information that Gray had a history of intentionally injuring himself in order to collect insurance money. The attorneys allege in the filing that police investigators knew that Gray once injured himself so severely while in a Baltimore jail that he required medical attention. The attorneys say in documents that when police investigators tried to follow up on the evidence, prosecutors in the state's attorney's office told them "not to do the defense attorneys' jobs for them."
Defense attorneys also say in the motion that high-ranking members of the state's attorney's office met with Dr. Carole Allen of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner a week before Gray's autopsy was complete and his death ruled a homicide. In addition, attorneys say the prosecutors didn't provide the medical examiner's office with a copy of the statement of Donta Allen, a man who had been inside the police van where Gray suffered his injury. Investigators initially said Allen told them that Gray had been making banging noises in the back of the van. But Allen later told the media that police had exaggerated his account.
Rochelle Ritchie, spokeswoman for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, declined comment on the recent filing.
The officers are scheduled to face trial in October, with a hearing on motions set for one month prior. Defense attorneys have asked a judge to move the trial out of Baltimore, arguing that pre-trial publicity will taint the integrity of the jury pool. Additionally, defense attorneys have asked for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her office to be removed from the case, citing alleged conflicts of interest. The most recent filing is in support of that request.
"The statement to investigators 'not do the defense attorneys' jobs for them' would seem to indicate some level of knowledge that exculpatory evidence exists which could benefit the officers charged in Mr. Gray's death and that the prosecutor did not want this information uncovered by investigators," the attorneys wrote in the motion.
An attorney for the Gray family did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.
Meanwhile, a psychological firm paid to evaluate troubled Baltimore police, including a lieutenant charged in Gray's killing, is under investigation by the city and has been put on probation by the state police for cutting corners in its mental health screenings of officers.